American McGee says Spicy Horse has no choice but to reduce the development team working on Akaneiro: Demon Hunters to just two people.
Akaneiro: Demon Hunters raised a little over $200,000 on Kickstarter in early 2013 and used that to create a Japanese-themed ARPG take on Little Red Riding Hood. The net result was actually pretty good – I reviewed it here – but it was also incomplete, lacking core features like a crafting system and co-op multiplayer, all of which, along with Android and iOS versions, were “guaranteed” by a successful Kickstarter campaign.
But nearly a full year down the road, none of those features have been implemented and it doesn’t sound like they’re going to be, either. “Development on Akaneiro started during the early months of 2011. Since that time, we’ve maintained a development team averaging 15 people/month on the project. In total, around 360 man-months have gone towards development, bringing our investment in dollars to nearly $2 million USD,” Spicy Horse boss American McGee explained in a Kickstarter update posted today. “In that same period, we’ve generated roughly 300kUSD in revenue – this includes funds collected via the Kickstarter campaign, F2P purchases in-game, and one-time purchases via Steam. In simple math: We’ve spent $2 million, we’ve made $300k, we’re ‘in the hole’ $1.7 million.”
Because of that, McGee said Spicy Horse must “radically alter” its approach to Akaneiro, which in layman’s terms means cutting the core development team to just two people. They’ll continue to work on the game but obviously at a greatly reduced pace, while the remainder of the studio focuses on its other project, The Gate.
“This isn’t the first time in our 8 year history we’ve faced this sort of challenge. It’s not the first time we’ve had to reduce staff on one of our games. It is different because of the demand for transparency that comes with being a part of Kickstarter,” McGee wrote. “In providing transparency like this, I am asking for your understanding and I am hoping for your support.”
As good as Akaneiro is, it’s nowhere near complete, which might explain at least in part why it remains in Steam Early Access, which surely didn’t help its chances for success. And with only two people now on the job, it seems extremely unlikely that those features promised by the Kickstarter will ever be implemented.